Monthly Archives: January 2010

Not the Zsazsa You Think…

Zsazsa Zaturnnah Ze Moveeh ~ Take colorful Filipino comic book superheroics, Bollywood and Broadway musical sensibilities and a gender-bending hero/heroine – and mix well, and you’ll get this movie version of Carlo Vergara’s Zsazsa Zaturnnah.

The secret origin of Zsazsa is one unique in all of comics – meek crossdressing beautician Ada eats a space rock, a big space rock, and becomes the superpowered and female Zsazsa Zaturnnah. It’s even more disturbing than you think, especially the eating the space rock part.

My favorite part is where Zsazsa gets served by the Queen of the dayglo Amazonistas and they have a dance off, I mean, fight, and keep fighting, and dancing, and singing. And apparently the Amazonistas (think Spice Girls from hell) come from the planet where 300 was filmed. Their battle scenes are like the Power Rangers on acid at Wigstock, and that’s a good thing.

There are also zombies and a giant frog, as if the Amazonistas weren’t enough. It’s crazy good fabulous fun, and you won’t believe your eyes, or ears.

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Honey Roasted Red Potatoes

J.D. Salinger 1919-2010

This is another hard one for me. This man’s writing was brilliant, the work of a genius, whose words exist on many levels for many people. Author J.D. Salinger has passed away of natural causes yesterday in New Hampshire.

Salinger’s best known work is the legendary “The Catcher in the Rye” with its controversial protagonist Holden Caulfield. This book, despite the screams of parents and right wing nutjobs, has become mandatory reading in high schools and colleges.

“The Catcher in the Rye” is a work I have always thought should be read several times at different ages. You get a different perspective on the characters and the story when you read it at fourteen than you do at twenty-four or at even forty-four. It’s the difference between a cool kid and a sociopath. Unfortunately, over the years, several unbalanced folks have not seen the difference, and used the book as a guide for their madness. John Lennon’s assassin stands out as only one dark example.

“Catcher” is not Salinger’s only work, it should be noted. I highly recommend especially “Nine Stories” and “Franny and Zooey.” Unfortunately Salinger has not published since 1961. And therein lies the other reason he has become famous – his self-imposed exile from public life. He has rarely been heard from except regarding legal matters to protect his work.

We have lost one of the true greats. Fortunately the work of J.D. Salinger lives on.

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French Fry Diary 86: Cheesecake Factory

RIP Zelda Rubinstein

Zelda Rubinstein passed into the light today after being hospitalized for over a month. Weeks ago she suffered a heart attack and was taken off life support when her lungs and kidneys failed. Her recovery was valiant yet unfortunately short-lived.

She was probably best known as the medium Tangina in the Poltergeist film series but also had a three decade-plus acting career in television and film as well as voiceover work. She was 76, and will be missed.

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Twilight

Twilight ~ I’ve never had the pleasure (or displeasure depending on your perspective) of reading Stephanie Meyer’s “Twilight” books so I really had no idea of what to expect here other than teen angst and sparkly vampires. That said, I have to say that Twilight is really not bad at all. I had actually expected a bad movie from all the trashing it’s received and the critics’ usual contempt for anything with a pop culture vibe. This was a good movie however, not a great one, but a good one.

Twilight does skew to a younger demographic and while I had heard it was cast with all “90210” type pretty people, I have to say I found no one in this flick particularly attractive or unattractive, but that may just be me. The vibe of the flick is definitely “Afterschool Special” meets Judy Blume with some vampire stuff and intriguing special effects thrown in, but again, that’s not to say it’s bad.

The plot is pretty typical teenage fare. New girl in a new school trying to fit in, only the weird kids aren’t Goths, punks or geeks – they’re vampires. But that’s beside the point, everyone’s just trying to get along. Twilight high school is a whole lot different from the Mean Girls or “Lord of the Flies” high schools the rest of us went to apparently. And when the plot does take a turn toward something meatier, the good news is that Twilight doesn’t disappoint. Much. It just goes by too quickly. Good thing there are sequels.

Quite a bit of it is a bit predictable, even transparent, like the set-up for werewolves in the sequel New Moon, but it kept my attention, kept me watching, and now I am interested in the books, and the movie sequels, both finished and impending. Great soundtrack and worth seeing.

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French Fry Diary 85: Johnny Rockets, Atlantic City

Pernell Roberts RIP

For one generation he was the oldest of the Cartwright boys, and for another he was the doctor who came home from fun and games in the Korean War to help folks Marcus Welby-style, but however you remember actor, singer and activist Pernell Roberts, he passed away Sunday after a long battle with cancer.

Other than “Bonanza” and “M*A*S*H” spin-off “Trapper John, M.D.,” Roberts starred frequently on television and even won awards for his stage work. He was 81, and will be missed.

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Basic Baked Sweet Potato

How to Save Heroes

The TV series “Heroes” has outlived its welcome for most of us. What started as a hopeful presentation of superheroes into mainstream dram television has now deteriorated into nonsense and derision from its own desired fanbase. In recent weeks however the series may have gotten a brief reprieve from cancellation thanks to Jay Leno forcing NBC to find five more hours of prime time programming every week. If it’s going to stay on the air however, there have to be changes. Here are my thoughts on how to save “Heroes.”

Let Hiro be Hiro. He works best as fun and powerful, not sick, not dead, not lost, not amnesiac. His exuberance with his powers, his joy at using them, and his determination to be a hero is one of the great charms of the character, and of the series.

In a similar vein, let Matt and Peter be the good guys they should be. We love them when they are on point and positive – and we want to change the channel when they are obsessive and self-doubting. We want heroes we can root for.

Enough Sylar already. A little goes a long way. The show isn’t and shouldn’t be about him. The show is called “Heroes” for a reason. And yes, I know that heroes are defined by their villains, but ease up on the guy, will you?

Enough with the carnival. Sorry, but it’s way too Circus of Crime/Brotherhood of Evil/Mutant Utopia for me. Robert Knepper is a hell of a great actor, but he’s no Magneto.

Speaking of bad guys, bring back HRG as a bad guy. He was always a better bad guy than he was a good guy. Want to give Claire some depth and edge? There you go, make Daddy back into the beast we feared in the first four or five episodes.

More Star Trek cameos would not be frowned upon. This is a good thing.

On the same subject, sort of, embrace the comic book and genre references. It’s what we love about Hiro, it’s what half of your audience is into, and look what it’s done for “Big Bang Theory.”

Get Jeph Loeb out and get Bryan Fuller back in. No, wait, they tried that…

Less season long continuity that not only feels like it was developed in the “Lost” writing sessions, but even we know they have no idea how it ends. Think like a Silver Age comic book and do single episode stories. Just a hint, single episode stories get Emmys, whole seasons don’t.

Let the good guys win every once in a while. As I said, we want someone to root for.

More superhero humanism and less superhero deconstructionism, and definitely no more emo characters. No one likes whiny metahumans.

This isn’t Watchmen. Everything doesn’t have to be so dark and dismal all the time. Be bright, be shiny, be positive – be “Heroes.”

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